Oki’s Movie


The members of a shivering love triangle configure and reconfigure across a frozen Korean campus-scape in Oki’s Movie, four interlocking shorts from director Hong Sang-soo. Each one bears a slight shift in perspective, beginning with Jingu (Lee Sun-kyun), a thirtysomething filmmaker and professor trapped in the banality of maintaining the status quo with everyone from his mirthless wife and petty colleagues to his barber. Alcohol encourages Jingu’s professional landslide, which ends in a drunken faculty dinner and humiliation at his own post-screening Q&A. From there, we jump back to Jingu’s twenties, when he was a student at the same school under Song (Moon Sung-keun), a successful director who happens to be having an affair with Oki (Jung Yumi), the object of Jingu’s Werther-ian affections. If the characterizations are fleeting, the recessive mood is not: Hong’s signature observational style is at once offhanded and astute, romantic and lightly chilled. “Pomp and Circumstance” recurs as a melancholy theme, as does the idea that academia and creativity don’t mix as well as the adjuncts of the world would like. The short of the title finally turns the film toward the inscrutable Oki and the sentimental education she receives in the difference between innocence and experience.

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